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Microblogs strengthen cultural ties between Chinese, foreigners


21:20, November 22, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- By using a Chinese microblog as a free advertising medium, the second China-Brazil Film Festival was able to pack filmgoers into northeast Beijing's Broadway Cinematheque MOMA -- a rare event for the art-house venue.

"Before the festival started, we opened an account on Weibo to advertise the event, and many of our followers came to watch these films," said Janaina Silveira, a public relations official for the event which included the screening of ten Brazilian films from Nov. 17 to 22.

The account Silveira mentioned, "Zhongguobaxidianyingjie" ("China-Brazil Film Festival"), attracted some 400 followers in about a month, including Chinese people involved in Brazil-related businesses and others learning Portuguese.

"We had volunteers answer questions about Brazilian culture posted by followers on our Weibo account, which to some extent met the curiosity of the Chinese audience," she said.

Silveira has not been the only one to realize the increasingly powerful influence of the country's popular microblog services over the last two years. While the microblog offers a channel for self-expression and networking, it has also evolved into a platform for advertising, government services, and news dissemination.

Jessica Beinecke from the United States has so far attracted about 170,000 followers, including many Chinese people learning English, with her Weibo account "OMGmeiyu."

Videos of her teaching English by speaking basic Mandarin Chinese and imitating Lady Gaga have been a breath of fresh air for language-learners who have sat through long periods of more traditional classes.

"I cannot help watching your video after I finished the first one. It is very enjoyable and I can learn English at the same time," a user named "Zhouxiaobiao" wrote.

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